Tag Archives: nyc election 2013

De Blasio elected mayor in landslide

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Lauren Epifanio

Bill de Blasio, in a landslide victory, has been elected as the city’s first Democratic mayor in two decades.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, de Blasio won Tuesday’s race with 73 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. His Republican opponent, Joe Lhota, had 24 percent.

“Today, you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city, united by a belief that our city should leave no New Yorker behind,” de Blasio said in his victory speech.

“Tackling inequality isn’t easy; it never has been and it never will be. The challenges we face have been decades in the making, and the problems we set out to address will not be solved overnight,” he added.

“But make no mistake: the people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together, as one city.”

As far back as late June, polls still showed de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, finishing fourth in the Democratic primary.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was the early front-runner, but when former Congressmember Anthony Weiner entered the Democratic primary in May, her lead shrunk in the polls.

Weiner, however, soon faced another sexting scandal, and he lost favorability with voters.

In July, de Blasio started to gain in the polls, and took the lead away from Quinn the following month.

De Blasio’s surge in the polls coincided with the release of a campaign ad starring his teenage son Dante, whose Afro took center stage.

His momentum continued until the primary, where de Blasio beat second-place finisher, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson by a significant lead.

But, with de Blasio still hovering around the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid an October 1 runoff, Thompson would not concede on primary night.

Thompson dropped out of the race six days later, and in late September the Board of Elections certified de Blasio the official Democratic nominee with just over 40 percent.

Lhota, the ex-MTA chairman and former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, easily secured the Republican nomination with 53 percent of the vote, topping grocery store mogul John Catsimatidis and Doe Fund founder George McDonald.

But Lhota’s success within his own party could not be replicated in the general election.

“We are five boroughs, but we are one city. We are one people and we want our city to move forward, not backwards. And I do hope our mayor-elect understands this before it’s too late,” said Lhota, conceding the race.

“It’s natural tonight to feel some disappointment. But tomorrow we must move beyond it. It was a good fight and it was a fight worth having,” he continued.

With a heavy Democratic electorate in the city, early on polls showed de Blasio beating Lhota by a wide margin.

The heated battle between the two and their different visions for the city were evident throughout the general election campaign and the three debates between the candidates, where they clashed on a range of issues, including taxes, education and crime.

Though Lhota promised a safer city under his watch, suggesting crime would go up under a de Blasio administration, voters ultimately favored de Blasio’s progressive message and saw him as a break from the Bloomberg years.

-With additional reporting by Meaghan McGoldrick

Updated 2:12 a.m. 



James makes history with public advocate win; Stringer elected as comptroller

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photos

The city has elected its new public advocate and comptroller— Letitia James and Scott Stringer.

Councilmember James’ win makes New York City history. As the next public advocate, she is the first woman of color to hold citywide office.

“Yes, this is indeed historic because our government must be representative of all New Yorkers,” James said in her victory speech.

“Although history is important and I am incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished together, what I’m really proud of is of the fact that we ran a campaign centered on progressive ideals and a commitment to New York’s working families,” she added.

James, who faced no Republican in Tuesday’s general election, won with 84 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.

The November 5 election was the third time voters could cast their ballots for James in the public advocate race.

James placed first in the September Democratic primary with 36 percent of the vote, but it wasn’t enough to reach the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

In the October 1 runoff, James, who represents District 35, faced off against fellow Brooklyn politician State Senator Daniel Squadron. She won with 59.4 percent of the vote.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer did have a Republican opponent in the comptroller race, John Burnett, a former Wall Street executive, but easily won with 81 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.

“I want everyone in this city to know that I will be a comptroller who serves our city with honesty and integrity. A comptroller who listens to the voices of New Yorkers in all five boroughs so that we can work together in shaping the future of this great city,” Stringer said in his victory speech.

Like James, his biggest challenge came in the primary.

Stringer was looking at a guaranteed Democratic nomination until former governor Eliot Spitzer decided to enter the race in July.

Though Spitzer had the stigma of a prostitution scandal that forced him to resign as governor in 2008, initial polls showed him ahead. But in the days before the election, they rightfully predicted a close race. Stringer defeated Spitzer with 52.1 percent of the vote.

Updated 2:05 a.m.




By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Check back here for continuing Election Day coverage from the casting of ballots to the election results.

11: 41 p.m.: According to the New York Times, Melinda Katz has been projected the winner of the Queens borough president race, and the following City Council candidates have also been projected as winners:

District 19: Democrat Paul Vallone

District 20: Democrat Peter Koo

District 21: Julissa Ferreras (running unopposed)

District 23: Mark Weprin

District 25: Daniel Dromm  (running unopposed)

District 26: James Van Bramer (running unopposed)

District 27: Daneek Miller

District 28: Ruben Wills

District 30: Elizabeth Crowley

District 31: Donovan Richards


THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

11:24 p.m.: Councilmember Eric Ulrich declares victory in District 32 race.

10:40 p.m.: Newly elected mayor Bill de Blasio gives victory speech.

“Today you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city united by a belief that our city should leave no New Yorker behind,” he said.

9:59 p.m.: Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and city comptroller candidate gives victory speech.

“This victory of ours did not come easy. It was a long journey, but it was worth it,” he said.

9:56 p.m.: Councilmember Letitia James, who gave her victory speech a little after 9 p.m., projected as winner in public advocate race.

9:48 p.m.: Melinda Katz gives her victory speech for Queens borough president.

“We sent a message from the moment I announced my candidacy that we are a borough of diversity …” she said.

9:47 p.m.: Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota gives his concession speech.

“It was a good fight and it was a fight worth having,”  said Lhota.

9:08 p.m.: Democrat Bill de Blasio is projected as winner of mayor’s race, according to reports.

“.@BilldeBlasio has the experience to run #NYC, a compelling vision for its future and he and his family epitomize the New York story.” Governor Andrew Cuomo, who endorsed de Blasio, tweeted about 30 minutes later.


Photo courtesy of Lew Simon’s campaign 

12:00 p.m.: Lew Simon, the Democratic candidate in the City Council District 32 race, voted at PS 114 in Belle Harbor.

“The positive response we’re getting is really humbling, so I’m very hopeful.  The voters know me, and they know how hard I work and how much I care about our neighborhoods  They’re ready for a councilmember who will work for them “25/7″ to get our communities rebuilt, to increase street safety and get the attention we need from City Hall,” he said.


THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano 

11:30 a.m.: City Council District 22 Democratic candidate Costa Constantinides voted at PS 85 in Astoria with his wife and son.

“We’re very grateful for all the support we’ve been getting,” he said.

“We’re excited, it has been a very exciting day. We’ve been campaigning and talking to voters.”


Screenshot via Twitter/@Stringer2013

11:28 a.m.: City comptroller candidate and Manhattan Borough Manhattan President Scott Stringer votes with his son by his side.


Photo courtesy of  Bill de Blasio campaign 

10:50 a.m.: Bill de Blasio voting today in Park Slope.


Photo courtesy of the NYC Mayor’s Office’s Flickr/Photo by  Kristen Artz

10:48 p.m.: Mayor Michael Bloomberg voting for his successor this morning.


THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre 

10:07 a.m.: Republican candidate in the City Council District 30 race, Craig Caruana, cast his ballot at St. Margaret School in Middle Village. “I got a great response so we feel good,” he said.


THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

9:3o a.m.: District 30 Councilmember and incumbent candidate Elizabeth Crowley voted at PS 113 in Glendale.


Photo courtesy of Daniel Lee

8:29 a.m.: City Council District 22 Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe voted this morning at PS 171 in Long Island City.

“Change is in the air. I’m looking forward to the next several hours of conversations with my fellow community members about the important issues in our district. I love Election Day,” said Serpe.


Screenshot via Twitter/@AdolfoCarrion

8:24 a.m.: Independence mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrion Jr. casts his ballot.


Photo by Terence M. Cullen

8:08 a.m.: Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota meets and greets voters with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the 86th Street 4/5/6 subway stop at the corner of 86th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.


Photo courtesy of Councilmember Ulrich

7:30 a.m.: Councilmember Eric Ulrich, the incumbent in the District 32 race, cast his ballot early this morning.


6:33 a.m.: Polls are open and close at 9 p.m. According to the Board of Elections, you can find your poll site location online at http://nyc.pollsitelocator.com or by calling the voter Phone Bank at 1-866-VOTE-NYC.

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


EVENT OF THE DAY: Deconstructed Flowers

H. David Stein’s unique mosaic of flora is distinctively detailed in his exhibit “Deconstructed Flowers,” at the Queens Botanical Garden from November 5-January 25. His intricate photographs pull out the dimensional presence of flowers using a special technique, which layers multiple photographs into a single montage. The end result shows many views of the flower’s beauty in a single image. Free to the public. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

2013 Election Day coverage

Check back with QueensCourier.com for continuing Election Day coverage from the casting of ballots to the election results. Read more: The Queens Courier

New York City voters have big say on state casino measure

New York City voters could have the biggest say in deciding whether to authorize seven Las Vegas-style casinos, even though the first four would go upstate and it could be years before the city sees its first. Read more: NBC New York

Illegal ‘sweepstakes cafes’ should be closed: Cops

Cops want to fold illegal “sweepstakes cafes” that offer patrons cash prizes as they play online games. Read more: New York Daily News 

Cheaper corn could mean cheaper chicken

A record corn crop has produced an unexpected windfall: cheaper chicken prices. Read more: CBS New York

Senate moves ahead on gay rights bill 

The Senate is moving forward on the first major bill barring workplace discrimination against gays in nearly two decades as Americans’ shifting views about homosexuality have significantly changed the political dynamic. Read more: AP

Street Talk: Will you be voting on November 5? Why or why not?

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Street Talk election

Yes, because my theory is that everybody has great ideas and it’s good to share them with the general public. It’s good to exercise your right to vote to see the outcomes of what some people are actually saying.
David Lipscomb

This time no, because it seems that every time we try to make a change with whichever party is chosen, there is no change. There’s always an agenda, so no matter who voted or how, they voted, the agenda is always the most important thing.
Jose Rodriguez

Yes, because I think the issues are important. In a way, I do feel like the government is going to do whatever it wants anyway.
David Burks

I’m not voting. I’m not really feeling it this year.
Maggie Gaydar

I’m not a resident here, although if I were, I would vote.
Michael Smith

I’m voting, but I won’t be voting in New York because I’m registered in California. But I’ll be voting because I think it’s important.
Hannah Armour

I’m not going to vote because I’m not a citizen. If I were, then I would take the time to learn more about who’s running and what they stand for, because I think voting is very important.
Sara Araujo

Yes, I will be voting because that’s what keeps the wheels of Democracy turning. Even if my candidate doesn’t win, I’ll know I did my part.
Tevin Robinson




Casino gaming, other amendments on ballot

| mchan@queenscourier.com

A controversial casino gambling referendum and five other proposed changes to the state Constitution will be up for vote November 5 on the general election ballot.

Voters hitting the polls to elect city candidates will also decide whether to authorize up to seven full-scale casinos in New York, though opponents say the referendum’s one-sided language is tilted in favor of its passage.

According to the ballot’s wording, the amendment would promote job growth, increase aid to schools and lower property taxes through generated revenues.

A lawsuit filed by Brooklyn bankruptcy lawyer Eric Snyder criticized the measure’s “advocacy language” and sought to stop it. The suit was dismissed October 16 by Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard Platkin, according to the New York Times.

NYPIRG said it “has been deeply troubled by the ballot question” and language “that seems to go beyond explanatory or descriptive.”

The amendment’s language, the nonpartisan group said, describes “predicted benefits” by casino boosters and fails to include negative impacts feared by opponents like the potential increase in gambling addiction and harmful effects on neighborhoods surrounding the casino.

“The language appears to be worded in a way that would incline a neutral voter to vote ‘yes.’ NYPIRG believes that New Yorkers are entitled to a neutral ballot proposal, not one which subtly or overtly nudges a voter in a particular direction,” the group said.

Also up for vote are amendments that would give additional civil service credit to veterans who are rendered disabled after their civil service appointment or promotion and one that would increase the maximum age until which some state judges may serve.

Two more items on the ballot relate to land exchange between the state and private companies in Long Lake, Hamilton County and Lewis, Essex County.



Op-ed: A vote for the ages

| oped@queenscourier.com


When you vote on November 5, you will find a number of propositions on your ballot.

Proposition 6 refers to the maximum mandatory retirement age for certain judges of our state courts. In particular the proposal, which would amend Sections 2 and 25 of Article VI of the New York State Constitution, would permit justices of the Supreme Court, who now must retire at 70 years of age but can obtain three two-year extensions so that service actually can be extended to 76 years, to serve until 80 years of age. In effect, the proposal would allow justices of the Supreme Court to obtain five rather than three extensions so that their service could extend to the age of 80.

The proposed amendment would also allow judges of the Court of Appeals, this State’s highest court, who reach the age of 70 in office to remain in service on the Court of Appeals for up to 10 additional years in order to complete the term to which that judge was appointed.

As a background it should be noted that in 1777 the mandatory judicial retirement age under the State Constitution was 60 years of age. This remained in effect until 1894 when the mandatory retirement age was extended to 70 years of age, which is the current state of the law. So why should the present proposal be approved?

A study by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics has demonstrated that people are living longer and healthier lives and that various studies have rebutted any presumption of incompetency at the age of 70. Further, the public policy of New York State since the 1980s has been to prohibit employers from subjecting their employees to mandatory retirement in both the public and private sectors.

If our public policy has prohibited such age discrimination, why should it be allowed for judges? Additionally, the current retirement age for judges in the only mandatory retirement age of its kind that remains in the New York State Constitution. It should also be noted that “judging” is usually a late peak occupation and that it is in the public interest that would be judges have had significant and long legal experience.

The craft of being a judge is one that benefits from immense past experience. Studies have also demonstrated that in states with higher judicial retirement age requirements, there is a high record of productivity for judges over the age of 70. In fact, there is no mandatory age requirement for federal judges. If they had the same requirement, former US Supreme Court Justices such as Earl Warren, William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall would have had to retire years before they actually did. In the case of Justice Brennan his term would have been shortened by 14 years and Justice Marshall’s by 13 years. Justice Antonin Scalia, who still currently serves on the US Supreme Court, would have needed to retire some seven years ago.

These are only a few examples of judges who have worked and been highly productive after the age of 70. The current ballot proposal makes sense and on November 5, you should vote YES to allow the mandatory retirement age to be extended to 80 years of age.

Joseph F DeFelice is an attorney practicing Criminal and Immigration law with offices in Kew Gardens, NY and is currently President of the Queens County Bar Association.





The Queens Courier endorses incumbent City Councilmember Eric Ulrich

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


The Queens Courier is pleased to endorse incumbent City Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

He was elected in 2009 as the representative for District 32, serving Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, South Richmond Hill, and Woodhaven.

In the four years since, he has proven himself a community-minded leader, ever present in the neighborhoods he serves, especially during times of crisis, like Sandy.

So when you go to the polls, be sure to cast your vote for Eric Ulrich.



The Queens Courier endorses Bill de Blasio for mayor

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

The Queens Courier is pleased to endorse Democrat Bill de Blasio for mayor of New York.

Since taking office, de Blasio has stood for the interests of the middle and working classes, pushing for better public schools, protesting the closure of community hospitals, and generally advocating for a city government more responsive to the needs of outer borough residents.

So when you go to the polls, be sure to cast your vote for Bill de Blasio.

City Council candidate Joe Concannon calls ‘fraud’ on Campaign Finance Board

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Joe Concannon’s campaign

The retired police captain running a pointed City Council bid against a popular incumbent says the city’s Campaign Finance Board should have accommodated his late entrance into the race.

Joe Concannon, who is taking on Councilmember Mark Weprin in a general election next month, said he was a “victim” of the CFB’s “incompetence and fraud” when his profile did not appear in the board’s widely distributed voter guide.

“I am running for public office to ensure that New York City government is more transparent and to alleviate the corruption, fraud and mismanagement,” said Concannon, who is on the Reform and Independent line. “The CFB seems to have succumbed to all three.”

About 4 million copies of the nonpartisan newsletter were mailed out throughout the city this week, a CFB spokesperson said. The guide contains voting information and detailed profiles submitted by candidates.

CFB spokesperson Matt Sollars said the hopefuls have until early July, at the latest, to submit their profiles, which then go through a timely process of getting translated into five languages in Queens.

“These are reasonable deadlines that are necessary for us to collect and produce a voter guide that is printed and mailed to every registered voter in New York City,” he said.

Concannon did not register with the CFB until September, Sollars said, months after the submission deadline.

But Phil Orenstein, the candidate’s campaign manager, said there should have been an exception, or at least an addendum.

“Accommodations should be made for his independent line candidacy, but nothing of the sort was done,” he said. “To us, this smacks of voter fraud and we hold the CFB culpable. They have failed in their responsibilities to properly inform the voters.”

Concannon leaped into the race August 8 because Weprin voted in support of two controversial police oversight bills in the Community Safety Act.

Concannon said the bills would increase crime and handcuff police, a belief numerous police unions shared when they endorsed him.

The Bellerose candidate unsuccessfully tried to unseat State Senator Tony Avella last year.



Councilmember wants poll site switch for Tudor Village voters

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

With the general election approaching, one candidate wants any and every voter at the polls.

The Board of Elections (BOE) rezoned Tudor Village voters two years ago from P.S. 63 in Ozone Park to P.S. 232 in Lindenwood. Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who is running for re-election, is requesting the BOE switch it back.

“The Board of Elections should be making it easier, not harder, for people to vote,” Ulrich said.

In order to get to P.S. 232, Tudor Village residents would have to cross the Belt Parkway. Ulrich said this task is “nearly impossible” without a car.

Ulrich said that since the change was made, voter turnout from the area has decreased and “residents remain concerned about their ability to make it to the polls in the future.”

Ulrich is running against Democrat Lew Simon in the November general election and wants the BOE to re-designate P.S. 63 as the Tudor Village voting site “as soon as possible” so residents can vote “without impediment in the upcoming election.”

“Tudor Village residents should be able to vote in their own neighborhood,” he said. “I hope the Board of Elections comes to their senses and reverses this decision before November.”

The BOE said as a result of a decision made by both Queens Commissioners, they have agreed to move forward in making the change and it will possibly in place by the general election.



Thompson ends mayoral bid

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Bill Thompson’s mayoral campaign has come to an end.

The former city comptroller announced Monday morning that he was dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination, throwing his support behind primary winner Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

“If this were a general election with consequences about the fundamental direction of our city, you can bet I’d fight until the very last vote. But Bill de Blasio and I want to move our city forward in the same direction. We share the fundamental same views and values. This is bigger than either one of us,” he said at the announcement in front of City Hall.

Though Thompson said he still believes every vote should be counted, in reality, the time it would take to count those ballots would have made it impossible to campaign, and remaining in the race would have been a “disservice” to voters.

Joining Thompson at the announcement was de Blasio as well as Governor Andrew Cuomo, who, according to reports, played a role in convincing him to step aside.

Thompson’s exit, however, doesn’t mean there won’t be a mayoral runoff on the October 1 ballot.

According to election law, Thompson had until midnight Friday to withdraw from the race. Since he didn’t quit before that deadline, the city will still need to include the two candidates in next month’s runoff if de Blasio doesn’t reach the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff after all votes are counted.

De Blasio received 40.3 percent of the vote in the primary Tuesday, and Thompson 26.2 percent, according to unofficial results.

Thompson’s decision to withdraw from the race comes after the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) rechecked the primary results of lever voting machines over the weekend.

The BOE was set to start tallying a reported 78,000 paper ballots Monday.

Thompson, after meeting with key supporters Thursday, publicly stated he would remain in the race until every vote had been counted.

That promise came after there was mounting pressure for him to drop his bid and as some former supporters endorsed de Blasio.

The city’s Campaign Finance Board, anticipating a runoff wouldn’t be necessary, decided not to release runoff public matching funds to de Blasio and Thompson last week.

De Blasio will now go on to face the winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary, Joe Lhota, in the general election on November 5.



Thompson refuses to drop mayoral bid after meeting with supporters

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@BillThompsonNYC

Bill Thompson vowed to stay in the mayor’s race Thursday night despite mounting pressure to drop his bid before a runoff can be decided.

He made the statement after reportedly meeting with key supporters, including Congressmembers Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries and Charles Rangel.

According to unofficial results, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio received 40.3 percent of the vote in the primary Tuesday, just making it to the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Thompson, finishing second, received 26.2 percent.

Thompson has until midnight to withdraw, according to election law. If he quits after that deadline, the city will still need to hold a runoff.

Following the Thursday meeting, he reiterated the same promise he made on election night to wait until the vote count is finished, according to reports.

“There are still tens of thousands of ballots that remain to be counted,” Thompson told supporters Tuesday.

He was referring to the paper ballots that still need to be tallied, a process that is expected to take several days.

The city’s Campaign Finance Board, anticipating a runoff won’t be necessary, reportedly denied Thompson around $463,000 in public matching funds and de Blasio about $726,000.

As some urged Thompson to drop his bid, others threw their support behind de Blasio Thursday.

During a rally on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall yesterday, several leaders, unions and other groups endorsed him in the race.

They included the Working Families Party and former backers of Thompson and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn who finished third in the primary.




Primary guide: City Council District 28

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


As the clock ticks closer to city primaries on Tuesday, September 10, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running. Here is a list of the City Council District 28 primary candidates (Jamaica, South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rochdale), who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

Name: David Kayode

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Minister at Maranatha Baptist Church and Counselor-Addiction Treatment, DHS NYC

Personal Info: Kayode has lived in Queens for over 20 years and has dedicated his life to being an advocate for public service and human welfare. He is contesting for the seat in his firm belief that he can serve the people of Queens as a councilmember better than his current position as a Counselor in the NYC Department of Social Services, in that he will be provided more opportunity to access to reach out to an even broader spectrum of individuals. He has been an activist all of his adult life serving people of New York City in all aspects of life including and not limited to the welfare of people. He also had a great and humbling opportunity to serve as a Legislative Aide to the Late Councilman White who held the same seat he is contesting for until his sudden death in 2010.

Platform/Issues: His platform includes getting sustainable jobs and economic developments; access to quality education and healthcare; tax breaks, incentives and opportunities for small businesses; foreclosures prevention and mortgage remediation; access to enhanced services for senior citizens and also implementing better programs and centers for youth development.

He especially would like to tap the city’s economic power to end poverty. The city can use its economic leverage to insist that recipients of tax breaks and economic development subsidies create family-sustaining jobs. This can be achieved by requiring businesses receiving financial incentives to provide living wage jobs that include benefits and training. He would also require businesses that receive assistance from the city to implement labor/management training programs to ensure career ladders for workers.

Name: Hettie Powell

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Attorney with the Queens Law Associates

Personal Info: Powell has lived in the community for 31 years, is president of the Rochdale Village Cooperators and started the Rochdale Village Youth Council.

Platform/Issues: In office, Powell will fight to keep schools open and provide resources, including programs for children with special needs. Powell will fight to create good, living wage jobs and ensuring that small businesses get help to expand and hire within the community. Powell will fight for more affordable housing in the district and help homeowners facing foreclosure stay in their homes. Powell will additionally work to open the senior centers and make sure the funding is available to keep open the existing centers.

Name: Ruben Wills

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Incumbent 28th District Councilmember

Personal Info: Councilmember Ruben Wills was born in southeast Queens and raised in the South Jamaica Houses. He is a product of the New York City public school system, graduating from P.S. 40 and Thomas Edison High School. He and his wife, Marcia, are active members of St. Alban’s Congregational Church.

Platforms/Issues: Wills is the co-sponsor of The Community Safety Act, a police reform legislative package aimed at ending the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies. He also authored and introduced The Community Violence Prevention Act, which establishes the city’s responsibility to stem the rise of violence and improve outcomes in the most affected communities.

In office, Wills introduced and passed legislation to limit the number of homeless shelters clustered in one community board, has provided over $1.7 million to support local community groups, after-school and youth programs and senior services. He has also fought for and won the restoration of more than 1,000 daycare slots and negotiated the increase of even more Out of School Time slots for elementary and middle school children.




Councilmember Mark Weprin faces potential challenger in general election

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Joseph Concannon’s campaign

Numerous police unions are backing one candidate’s bid to unseat incumbent Councilmember Mark Weprin.

Joseph Concannon, a retired police captain from Bellerose, announced his run for City Council on August 8 — with the full support of several law enforcement groups, including the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA).

“I can assure you I will never risk the safety and security of one New York City citizen at any time at all,” Concannon said.

The PBA pledged in June to invest its full resources to target councilmembers, including Weprin, who voted in favor of the Community Safety Act. The union distributed anti-Weprin leaflets in Bayside in July.

“No councilmember who puts this city at risk will have a free ride in the next election,” PBA president Patrick Lynch said.

Two oversight bills in the act would create an inspector general to oversee the NYPD and allow individuals to sue the city in state court over the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices.

The PBA and Concannon said the bills would increase crime and handcuff police.

“I didn’t pick this fight. I didn’t ask for this challenge,” Concannon said. “I’m afraid that Mark Weprin and all the members have come to this with a very faint heart. They don’t understand the reach of this bill and what it will do to police officers we send out into the street.”

Concannon is planning to make the Reform Party line. He ran for State Senate as a Republican last year and lost to incumbent Tony Avella.

The Detectives Endowment Association, Lieutenants Benevolent Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association and Captains Endowment Association have also endorsed his candidacy.

Weprin stood by his vote, saying the bills would keep the city safe without leading to an increase in lawsuits since there is no monetary incentive.

“Everyone has the right to run,” he said. “I know Joe a little bit. I respect his service to our country and city. I just think that the law is in the best interest of New York City.”

If Concannon collects the 450 petition signatures he needs to make the ballot by August 20, he will face off with Weprin in the November general election.

“The voters will decide in the election,” Weprin said. “Having no opponent would be better, but this is democracy and democracy will run its course.”